Christine Osasuwa is a developer and came to Stockholm from the US in July 2017 and shortly after that, she signed up for Startup Weekend. She had been involved with the tech industry in Baltimore, where she is from and knew that the tech community, in general, are always welcoming. It was a good place to get familiar with the city.
How would you describe your experience?
So it was a fantastic experience. It was really, really great to see what the turnout was like, there were so many people from all over the place. There were women, old, young, different nationalities all brought together to work together on these projects. What was really nice was that on the first night everybody was encouraged to pitch their idea so even people that seemed a little shy by the end of it they were in line to pitch their idea too. We heard from a myriad of voices that I don’t think we would. I think that the Startup Weekend culture made people get comfortable with each other really early on starting on the first day. It was a really good way to start things off. Then from there Saturday and Sunday, there was so much work. We worked so hard but we felt really accomplished with what we did at the end of it and we had mentors there to help us out. And also the free ice cream helped! But it was a really great time and I really enjoyed myself and my teammates.
What new skills have you learned?
Being part of the event was really exciting because I got to pitch. I’ve never had a startup before. I’m comfortable with speaking on stage in general but I’ve never really had to pitch an idea or a product so it was something new and interesting that I had to bring to the table in this situation. I still use that regularly at my current job because I’m always developing new products and I have to tell people about them constantly and explain to different groups of people that may not be an expert in the exact thing.
I guess the thing that’s also quite valuable is after we pitched our final presentations. A VC approached me and our team which was really exciting. I had never had a VC approach me, as I said never had a startup before and she was interested in us as a team in terms of what we’re going to do, how we’re able to talk to people. These were people that one I had just met two days prior to the event and the other one I had only known for a few months. Someone that was willing to perhaps give us money to work on our idea full time was really exciting and really new to see how quickly things can go from zero to a hundred if you work really hard and put a lot of effort into your project.
Why Startup Weekend?
I’ve been to a lot of networking events in Stockholm. And I always hear founders say “Oh what’s the worst that could happen?”. And I always think a lot of bad things can happen if decide to leave my job and start a startup right now. But Startup Weekend is different, it’s only three days, but you can do so much in three days. You feel comfortable with the idea, feel comfortable talking to people, meet people that can help you in your project. It’s a really good first step if you’re looking to try something new or if you’ve never tried anything new in your life. There is nothing you can do to fail in this situation, everyone comes out with new friends, with new people, new contacts, new experiences.
I recommend it because sometimes you can say I made a whole company in three days versus I played video games or something all weekend long. One thing that was really nice was that everyone pitched their ideas on the first day so even if their idea wasn’t picked you still got to find people that have just an interest that you may be interested in. We heard from people that worked in fashion, that worked in data, that worked in web development, that worked all over. And you may never even encountered those people if you hadn’t come to this event.
I don’t think there is anything to lose so why not give it a try!